Exterior Windows

7 Ways to Bring the Outdoors In

It’s instinctual, really: During the winter, people naturally prefer to hunker down indoors, protected from the frigid temperatures and severe storms that are signatures of the season. When spring finally arrives, however, everything changes, and we head back outdoors to enjoy the fair weather as much as possible. In short, we typically think and behave as if indoor and outdoor spaces must be markedly distinct and separate. But it doesn’t have to be that way—at least not any more. Homeowners today can choose from many styles of windows and doors designed to erase the line between the interior of the home and the great outdoors. Some of these windows are familiar, timeless favorites, while others are brand-new, made possible only by the latest advances in design and manufacturing. All offer compelling advantages for those who crave more natural light, a heightened sense of space, and a feeling of oneness with nature no matter the time of year. Carefully engineered for ease of operation and energy efficiency, options from category leader JELD-WEN promise to redefine your experience of home. Click through now to see a sampling of boundary-blurring JELD-WEN products in action. This content has been brought to you by JELD-WEN. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Picture Windows


This traditional kitchen makes the most of its spectacular view of an adjacent stand of trees, thanks to a generous wall of windows. Extending all the way up to the ceiling, the collage of picture windows makes the wall almost seem to disappear. The abundant light and clear sight lines help the room feel much larger and more vibrant. Best of all, the white-painted, wood-framed windows are low maintenance: Complete with JELD-WEN‘s proprietary AuraLast wood, they boast superior protection against moisture and rot. That’s of course in addition to their obvious aesthetic virtues. Win, win.

Swinging Patio Doors


Swinging patio doors—perhaps best known as French doors—date back to the 17th century. Now as then, the design fosters a smooth indoor-outdoor transition, whether they’re installed as a single unit or along the full width of a room, as shown here. The attractive door beckons visitors toward the balcony even as it invites air and light inside. JELD-WEN custom wood transoms above the doors take things a step further, intensifying the sense of openness. Taken together, the installation counterbalances the modest size of the room with the expansiveness of the wider world.    

Folding Windows


In many kitchens, you end up with a utilitarian tiled backsplash behind the sink. But when you’re fortunate enough to have a kitchen that looks out on something special, a custom wood folding window from JELD-WEN can practically make the outdoors part of your kitchen decor. When closed, the window offers exceptional, weather-tight protection from the elements and, due to its insulating glass, stand-out energy efficiency. When open, the panels of this unique window fold back accordion-style, establishing a powerfully close connection between the home and its surroundings. Beautifully framed by the unimpeded opening, the lovely view could take all the drudgery out of doing the dishes.

Sliding Door Systems


Year-round, a multipanel sliding door maximizes the amount of natural light that reaches a room. At the same time, this distinctive window style creates an attention-grabbing focal point that draws the eye outward, greatly enhancing the feeling of space. Even better, on days when weather permits, the floor-to-ceiling door telescopes open; its large yet easy-to-operate panels stack together at the end of the track. When the doors are open to their fullest, the distinction between the indoor space and deck dissipates, turning the outdoors into a natural, accessible extension of the home, effectively boosting livable square footage.

Bay Windows


With roots dating back hundreds of years, bay windows are nearly ubiquitous today, in part because vendors like JELD-WEN have introduced options in grilles, clad color, and glass as well as ENERGY STAR-qualified features to suit every budget and aesthetic. But bay windows’ popularity is due to more than modern innovation. The style offers many compelling advantages. Because they project outward, bay windows add volume to the home. Plus, because they capture light from three exposures, bay windows make the most of the sun all day long and throughout the changing seasons. But most of all, homeowners embrace bay windows for the panoramic views they afford, which encourage a feeling of unity with the outdoors.

Folding Patio Door Systems


What’s the best way to establish a seamless interplay between the indoor and outdoor living areas of your home? It may very well be a folding patio door system like this one. Available from JELD-WEN in a range of sizes and panel configurations—not to mention multiple materials and finishes—folding doors all but disappear when opened. The effect could hardly be more dramatic. The system creates expansive, free-and-clear openings up to 48 feet wide, allowing formerly separate zones—the kitchen and deck, say, or the bedroom and balcony—to achieve a perfect union.

Dutch Doors


Many of the features that bring the outdoors in don’t involve glass at all. Take, for example, JELD-WEN Dutch doors. The divided design of Dutch doors first became popular with farmers, who appreciated the way they could open the top to let light and air enter, while keeping the bottom closed to keep out livestock. Today, of course, you don’t have to live among farm animals to enjoy the benefits of this charming door style that promotes both openness and security. JELD-WEN offers a range of modern takes on the classic, including the Craftsman-style Dutch door featured here, in Merlot.